Easier to replace a Jabsco head than to fix it?

Discussion in 'Big Boats' started by limbodog, May 13, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. limbodog


    Joined Jul 16, 2018
    85 posts, 14 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Boston
    I've got two heads. One goes to a cracked holding tank. We won't talk about that.
    The other goes to a nice new top-fitting head with hoses not older than 5 years. It's a Jabsco manual "compact" head - which is to say the bowl is the size of a toilet you'd use to potty-train a toddler. Also, it appears to leak black water from basically every gasket, and the joker valve closes completely about 80% of the time, refilling the bowl the rest of the time.

    I saw in a youtube video that Jabsco marine toilets come nearly completely assembled. You just have to bolt them down, connect the hoses and you're good to go (in theory). And it looks like Defender.com has the non-compact manuals on sale for $225 or thereabouts.

    And so I'm thinking that installing a new Jabsco (where the floor bolts all line up with the previous assembly) would actually be substantially less work than fixing the one I have now, where I'd have to replace all the gaskets and probably re-connect the hoses just to rule them out as culprits anyway.

    The gasket kits are $40 from what I've seen (and I don't know how old my current unit is, so I have to worry about non-matching parts). I'd be paying $185 to save myself maybe a couple of hours of mucking about.

    So, esteemed reader, is that crazy to replace a whole toilet just to cut down on the time spent with a wrench wrestling with nasty hoses in a confined space?

    HMT2 likes this.
  2. Ron20324


    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,934 posts, 881 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    When my B323 was almost new I found a good buy on the "household" size. Great upgrade. If you have a twist-lock pump, those are newest model. Yeah, replace that one. At least, then, you'd know what you are staring with. Nice part about the twist-lock handle, (as someone pointed out) you can unscrew it to inject lube into the pump cylinder.

    limbodog likes this.
  3. jssailem


    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,588 posts, 4,305 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    I think you already know what you want to do.
    I have found that the best way to work on said issues is to give the tank, head and the lines a good rinse and suck out before jumping in. Granted this works best in the marina with a pump out.
    And use rubber gloves.
    If there is a terrible smell, :confused: a dab of Vicks Vapor Rub right below the nose helps.

    What is the downside of replacement. Replacing the head sounds like you’ll get a bigger seat for your bottom. :ass::dancing:

    You need a reasonable seat to contemplate your next activity each morning.

    Dive in. You can always use the one you remove as a back up.

    Maybe consider an alternate to the Jabsco. Like a Raritan.

    limbodog likes this.
  4. FastOlson


    Joined Apr 8, 2010
    1,116 posts, 184 likes
    Ericson Yachts Olson 34
    US Portland OR
    What John said. I once owned (and constantly repaired and rebuilt) a Jabsco head for a decade on a prior boat. Present boat has a Raritan PH2, for over twenty years. No rebuilding.
    I believe that the best upgrade for your old Jabsco head is to fling it with real feeling... into a dumpster.
    Replace it with a Raritan.

    And do use latex gloves...... :)
    I have replaced all hoses and the holding tank over the years. Not any fun, but not 'rocket science' either.
    Just patience and perseverance. (!)

    limbodog, jssailem and Calif. Ted like this.
  5. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,227 posts, 196 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    I've replaced the Jabsco with a Raritan on every boat I've owned, recently replaced 3 Jabscos on friend's boats who battled with Jabsco's for years. And the bolt holes are the same.
    And replace the hoses anyway while you are there, I've seen them clog in as little as 6 years when in continuous use.

    limbodog and jssailem like this.
  6. JRT


    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    1,265 posts, 425 likes
    Catalina 310
    211 US Lake Guntersville, AL
    My C310 was upgraded to Raritan PH2, that seems to be the #1 approach to Jabscos repairs.

    limbodog likes this.
  7. tfox2069


    Joined Apr 8, 2011
    69 posts, 15 likes
    Hunter 36
    Intrepid US Deale, MD
    I replaced all the seals on a new-to-me Jabsco manual compact that came on my 2009 H36 last season. I couldn't fix whatever was making it back fill and spray seawater (?) through the pump housing on every downstroke. So I purchased the entire pump housing for around $80, which so far has done the trick. It took me ~20 min to pull out the old one and drop in the new one over the winter (already rinsed and pumped out and new hose to holding tank installed to replace the permeated one) .

    That said, for not much more you could replace the entire thing with a Jabsco household size and be happier. Or upgrade to a higher quality household size one like others have suggested and be even happier with less maintenance on it. If all the bolt holes line up, and you're not changing water source or replacing hose, then its really a pretty simple job. I'd opt for the more comfortable option at a minimum and change it all out, and the more expensive comfortable option if you can spare the $$.

    stuartsw and limbodog like this.
  8. Ward H

    Ward H

    Joined Nov 7, 2011
    2,388 posts, 573 likes
    Catalina 30 Mk II
    US Barnegat, NJ
    Hmmmm, tear apart a nasty old toilet trying to fix it or replace with a nice new clean toilet? No question there. Replace.
    As @jssailem said, you need a comfortable place to sit and, no offense, you don't look like a tiny guy.

    The most comfortable head I used was @LeslieTroyer s heated head. :biggrin:

    limbodog and LeslieTroyer like this.
  9. limbodog


    Joined Jul 16, 2018
    85 posts, 14 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Boston
    Less maintenance and I don't have to drill new holes in glass? Sounds like a plan.
    Tho' they do seem to cost twice as much. But I have to imagine that pays for itself every year I don't need to work on it.

  10. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,304 posts, 797 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    I'm gonna answer your question with a question: Which would YOU rather do...spend at least 85% of the price of replacement pump for a rebuild kit that may or may not solve your problem, spend hours installing the kit (often only to discover you got something in upside down or backward)...or remove and replace a few bolts and a couple of hoses to swap out the pump for an identical new one? Or for a bit more money, replace it with a toilet that will easily provide at least 20 years of reliable trouble free service if it's just kept well lubricated and rebuilt every 5-6 years Raritan PH SuperFlush Mounting bolt pattern matches Jabsco manual...hose connections are a little different but still a lot easier to deal with than rebuilding your Jabsco.


    tfox2069, jssailem and limbodog like this.
  11. limbodog


    Joined Jul 16, 2018
    85 posts, 14 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Boston
    Sure, when you put it that way...

    Tho I've been reading online reviews and there appears to have been a dip in quality in the past few years. WalMart Effect™ maybe? Or just a couple unlucky travelers

    jssailem likes this.
  12. stuartsw


    Joined Sep 22, 2009
    93 posts, 14 likes
    Hunter 36
    US Seattle, WA
    Same on my 2009 H36. (#211). Just replaced the pump assembly. Easier and about as cheap if you tote up time spent. We live aboard. I replace the joker valve every year as well.
    With all due respect to the Headmistress, Jabsco is not always inferior to Raritan, in my experience.

    tfox2069 likes this.
  13. DayDreamer41


    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    1,346 posts, 670 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Port Huron
    Answer to the title, yes of course its easier to replace now the next question, with what? Raritan or Jabsco, sounds like Raritan is the preferred throne de jour now which Raritan, Super flush, PHII big decisions coming your way........

  14. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,304 posts, 797 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    The SuperFlush is the current version of the PHII. It still uses the tried and true PHII pump. The main "upgrade" is a new base with mounting bolt pattern that match most other toilets. Not sure whether sbo.com sells it...get a quote from Dave before you go elsewhere for it. If you have to go elsewhere, Defender has it for +/- $300 depending on bowl size.

  15. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,304 posts, 797 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    Everything works better and lasts longer if it's maintained...although some things can withstand neglect and still keep working.
    However, ITT spun Jabsco off several years ago to a company called Xylem Flow Control. Although Xylem is a US company they do -0- manufacturing here. It's all in 3 parts of the world: the UK, China and Mexico...and Mexico is where every Jabsco product sold in the US is now made, with materials and components sourced from China and other Asian sources.
    Raritan, otoh, still builds everything in the US, keeps a very tight rein on quality control and stands solidly behind everything they make...which explains why Raritan products have been consistently top-rated since they opened their doors in the '60s (or possibly even late 50s).


    jssailem likes this.
  16. thinwater


    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,343 posts, 571 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    The simplest solution, which will solve your problem positively in 15 minutes, is to replace the head pump unit. It is about $95 and will basically give you a hew head with an old seat. Really easy.

    Not sayin' there aren't better heads. There are. But this is an easy good fix that was not mentioned. Should hold you several years and very hard to do wrong or to get in trouble.

    Working on a head does not need to be a messy job, if you flush multiple times first. Really. Same thing with replacing the head. Flush, flush with vinegar and soak, and then flush once more. Easy.

    tfox2069 likes this.
  17. tfox2069


    Joined Apr 8, 2011
    69 posts, 15 likes
    Hunter 36
    Intrepid US Deale, MD
    1. You cannot pay for better advice than Peggy provides for free here.
    2. Seriously.
    3. I’m not f’ing even kidding.
    4. But in the end it’s your call. Good luck.

    Hardware likes this.
  18. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,304 posts, 797 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    Thanks for the kind words, tfox!

    You must have read my book! :biggrin:

  19. Garbonzo


    Joined Dec 4, 2018
    19 posts, 6 likes
    Balboa 27
    NA US Denver
    I assume everybody has read your book.. Air lots of it and KO, boom done.

  20. karellen


    Joined Jan 5, 2017
    44 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 356
    US Benicia
    I used to put up with leaky Jabscos for many years, not realizing there was an alternative. On my current boat, one of the first projects I did was replace the Jabsco compact for the Raritan Superflush. However, to prevent waste and save a few bucks, I purchased their "Raritan PH Super Flush Conversion Kit #P103". It includes everything but the bowl, so you can re-use the bowl and lid from your existing Jabsco. All the holes matched up perfectly.